Sunday, September 05, 2010
Chloe joins the family
The road ahead
Laval, QC, August 2010
Because nothing in life is permanent, especially if it's a planned-obsolete piece of North American engineering, it's only a matter of time before the lovely set of wheels you carefully piloted home from the dealership just a few short years ago eventually becomes an older, less lovely conveyance that increasingly - and increasingly unpredictably - consumes family resources you'd rather allocate to basics like food, shelter and Apple-branded products.
So as the noise from another clearly blown wheel bearing gradually evolved from a gentle thrum to something a little less gentle, we kinda knew the wondervan's time with us was drawing to a close. As much as we enjoyed having something large enough to carry a miniature pony to the fair or the Iceland national basketball team to its next practice, our vehicle's slow de-evolution back to oxidized metal particles meant it made more sense to redirect our finite dollars toward something a little newer, a little smaller and a little (okay, a lot) more efficient. We'd miss the cassette deck, of course, but that's the price of progress.
But here's the thing: our not-so-mini minivan (seriously, can something 200+ inches long and well over two tons in weight be considered mini?) served us well. It took us to Florida five times, to Montreal dozens of times, and to countless other places near and far on trips that helped us continue to tell the story of us. Even on drives to school, it served as our little cocoon, a place where we got to spend a few relatively peaceful moments together before the day took us all our separate ways. So when it came time to take Wilhemina (or Wilma. Yes, we name our cars) on her last drive to the dealership before trading her in, I found myself trying to commit the last five years of ownership to memory.
The new car has a working rear defroster. We don't need to keep our ears tuned for the next thing to go wrong. The kids aren't allowed to eat in it. Or within a 25-foot radius, for that matter.
Our daughter named her Chloe. She fits just fine in our driveway and, more importantly, into our family. This reflective photo, shot in the parking lot of my in-laws'/mom's condo complex after completing the first leg of her first-ever road trip, makes me realize that in the end, it's not as much about the car itself as the places it takes you and the memories you make - and hold on to - along the way. If Chloe is as effective in that regard as Wilma was, we'll do just fine for the next few years on whatever road adventures await us.
Your turn: Do you name your cars? Do tell!